Genital herpes is a highly contagious infection usually spread through vaginal and anal intercourse. Learn more from WebMD about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of this sexually transmitted disease.
Genital herpes is usually diagnosed based on your medical history and a physical exam. Your health professional may ask you the following questions:Do you think you were exposed to genital herpes or another STD? How do you know? Did your partner tell you?
If the herpes simplex virus (HSV) invades a part of the body other than the genital area, it may cause disease in that part of the body. In general, complications are rare. And they usually occur with the first-time (primary) genital herpes outbreak. Some of these complications include:Meningitis, an infection of the fluid (cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF) and tissues (meninges) that surround the brain and spinal cord.Encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. This is usually the result of a viral infection.Inflammation of the lower spinal cord and surrounding nerves. This may result in an inability to urinate, loss of feeling and muscle strength in the legs, and constipation.Other areas of the body that can be infected with the herpes virus include:The lips (herpes labialis). These outbreaks are often called cold sores or fever blisters. They are usually mild but may be treated with antiviral medicines if they become severe or more frequent.The hands and fingers (herpetic whitlow).